Fat is one of the 3 important macronutrients that the human body needs along with protein and carbohydrates and it’s a major source of energy. It aids in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E, K) and carotenoids [1,2].
World Health Organization/ FAO have set the total fat intake to be at least 20 E% and is expressed as a percentage of total dietary energy (E%) or as grams per day for adults .
Also, cholesterol intakes should not ideally exceed 300 mg/day .
Fats can be categorised as saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fats. Polyunsaturated fats are further categorised into Omega 3 fatty acids (n-3) and Omega 6 fatty acids (n-6). Certain fatty acids are considered as essential as the body can’t synthesize them [3,7].
Animal fats have a higher melting point and are solid at room temperature due to their high saturated fatty acids content. However, plant fats (oils) tend to have a lower melting point and hence are liquid at room temperatures because of their high content of unsaturated fatty acids, the exception being coconut & palm kernel oil [1,2,7].
Researchers have found a positive association between total saturated fats, trans fats intake and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentration leading to an increased risk of coronary heart disease [1,2,3]. Similarly, high saturated fats intake can affect glucose/ insulin metabolism and can possibly increase diabetes risk .
Certain studies have also found a positive association between increased saturated and trans fats intake with obesity and body weight .
However monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered to be healthy fats and not linked to increased chronic disease risk [1,2].
There is also evidence from dietary intervention studies that replacing saturated fatty intakes with products rich in n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids decreases the number of cardiovascular events.
When free fatty acid concentrations are relatively high, muscle uptake of fatty acids is also high .
Saturated fats and trans-fat can increase cholesterol and LDL levels which in turn can increase the risk of CHD .
High risk of obesity, cancer, and insulin resistance .